Thanks to all of you for your patience; you will understand, I trust, just how much effort it takes to wrangle knights, treacherous wives, foolish gamblers, and a talking rooster, none of whom will listen or follow instructions. That said: like one of those awesomely weird mirrored worlds, wasn’t it a riot this week to join a contest in which you told stories about a group of folks telling stories for a contest?
Following hard on the heels of this morning’s winners’ post will be a second post: that’s right, it’s #Spotlight with our own Aria Glazki, who today launches her brand new book, Mortal Musings. Please be sure to check back a bit later this morning — not only is it a smashingly fun interview, but she’s giving away a free print copy!
Deepest thanks today to Dragon Team Eight, A.J. Walker & Voima Oy, aka the Valiant Story Wranglers, whose efforts on behalf of this contest are both thoughtful and relentless. Thank you! Here are their opening comments:
V–It’s a splendid idea for a collection of tales — a colorful group of travelers on their way to a holy place. I think the Canterbury Tales may be one of the finest pieces of literature in English or any language. And you don’t have to be a Chaucer scholar to enjoy them. They are still full of life and humor — and inspiration. It was a contest then, and now. What a marvelous bunch of tales you have shared with us — saints and sinners, vengeful wives, gamblers and knights on quests. And aren’t we all travelers on this road of life? Couldn’t ask for better company, or better stories.
AJ- The poetry and prose which came forth from the options available to all the authors this weekend were varied but never less than enthralling.
Again it was a pleasure to be representing the east side of the Atlantic with Team 8. The broad thrust of the stories begs the age old question… Why did the treacherous woman cross the road? A) I don’t know, but I’d watch my back if I were you!
Best writerly tribute: The Scribbler’s Tale by A V Laidlaw. Doesn’t Chaucer deserve his own tale, too? It’s so cleverly done–and now we know where the Wife of Bath came from. Also a tribute to the writers’ craft we all share. Scribbling, swearing, praying, tapping…
Best seduction: Pilgrim Adam by Foy S. Iver. I loved this seduction scene in space. These are pilgrims heading for the Earth shrine. Great characters, dialogue and descriptions –“he fiddled with his tassels.” Will she win the role of Eve?
Best tweets: #Imawesome by Casey Rose Frank. @Blueknight18 is on a quest–live tweeting his way to Strawberry Fields. I enjoyed the humor and the hashtags. Will this language seem as strange in the future as Chaucer’s Middle English?
Best twist: Prank You Lord by Craig Anderson. What a great twist in this one! A martyr’s death averted by practical jokes–or is it divine Justice after all? “One miracle I could ignore, but not two. Cut him free.”
V: I love this saint of sinners — what a great character! Vivid writing set the scene for me. fantastic lines — “dance the rope fandango.”
AJ: Loved the image of the potpourri-sniffing gentry ridding themselves of the risk of honest sweat permeating into their day.
V: This is a masterful piece of wordplay — the “Book of Jobs” is brilliant! And yes, the Apple Store is like a shrine. Mac users are sometimes described as cultish, especially by followers of the Word.
AJ: I’m a member of this cult and found that yet again my funny bone was hit precisely this week. Making the Genius Bar the shrine was, well — genius.
V: What a vivid scene — a description of courtly love — he feels her lips, and he’s too weak to respond. “Mr. Knight, you collapsed at the bank.” The kiss of life for sure.
AJ: Loved this. I didn’t see the twist coming at all. Brilliantly built crescendo, ending with a bang rather than a bum bum tish! Well done.
SECOND RUNNER UP
V: So well-played! The scene is a poker game and gamblers, but there’s cheating going on. The shiny tray is such a clever move. Who wins? “We’ll see.”
AJ: A fab story told about a few short minutes in time around a card table which spoke volumes about the protagonists. (I’d only just read a short story about a card game by China Meiville and it fit right in). I could see the scene and the people perfectly – I almost grabbed a sandwich and gave the shaking leg a nudge. Poor sucker.
FIRST RUNNER UP
Eliza Archer, “Untitled.”
V: Why does this great story not have a title? This story of a cheating wife setting off on a pilgrimage deserves a title! Such marvelous characters and descriptions. The writing is so crisp — “Sin was fattening.” “she shouted in his ear horn” I can see this! Marvelous twists of this story — with the swearing rooster and the not-so foolish husband. It is so sharp and alive. I loved it!
AJ: Puzzled me why the piece wasn’t given a name, but it shows the strength of the piece that it is comfortably in the top three without one! (I must say a good tytle is well wyrth thinking about as it can put the icing on ye prose built cake.) A great story prefaced by a short scene setting then presented through simple dialogue. Repeatedly hit my funny bone – though I’m worried about the news that sin is fattening (I’ve been blaming the pasties and crisps). Best of all was the killer end. Brilliant!
And now: for her FIRST TIME EVER, it’s beloved writer & Team 5 judge, proving that funny can win: it’s our
“Brave Sir Eggmund“
V- This is Chaucer spirit:
” Brave sir Eggmund came a-courtin’,
his feathers shining bright,
Upon his mighty St. Bernard they rode into the night.”
His brave exploits and knightly quest are described in rhyme with great humor and archaic spelling. Will he win the fair Geneveeve? “Goodd king,” he said, and stroked his comb, “I cock-a-doodle-do.” How could you top the last line? I really could see this story as a children’s book. I think it would be delightful. Yes, I do. Bravo!
AJ: This got me on the first pass – a story brilliantly constructed (it only went and rhymed too!). Funny and charming. Monsters with large limbs and – importantly – hairy toes fought by a ‘chicken on a puppy’ is a lovely take on a tall tale /nursery rhyme. Whoever wrote it (for I know not who) I say bravo for taking on the Canterbury Tale with such poetic bravery (if it turns out to have been written by a rooster on a puppy I am going to give up myself). Not sure how often poetry has won at FFF but I’m happy to see it has this time. Do I think it was the best entry this week? I Cock-a-doodle-do!
Congratulations, Holly: your day is here at last! Please find here your brand new winner’s page; I should add that we’ve had it waiting in trust for you for quite some time now, knowing this day would come! Your winning tale can be found there as well as (shortly) over on the winners’ wall. Please watch your inbox for directions regarding your very first Sixty Seconds interview this week! And now here’s your winning story:
Brave Sir Eggmund
Brave sir Eggmund came a-courtin’, his feathers shining bright,
Upon his mighty St. Bernard they rode into the night.
They braved the roads less traveled, and in places no one knows,
Sir Eggmund fought foul monsters who had large limbs and hairy toes.
They did not take hitchhikers, for their deadline did await
(Besides which the St. Bernard could not withstand the extra weight).
The king of their neighbor country had announced upon the spring,
His daughter’d wed a noble night who served a foreign king.
Brave Sir Eggmund was the best of best, among his feathered kind,
And the princess could do no better, or so it was in his own mind.
“What’s this?” the king did ask of them, when they had arrived,
“A rooster upon a puppy? What joke hast thou contrived?”
“I am here to court your daughter,” Sir Eggmund did declare,
“For I hear she is a beauty, with rosy cheeks and golden hair.”
“How now, you simple chicken, dost thou really believe,
That I would let a chicken wed my dearest Geneveeve?”
Brave Sir Eggmund looked him in the eye with his intentions true,
“Good king,” he said, and stroked his comb, “I cock-a-doodle-do.”